Donald Ritchie: Japanese Cinema: Film Style and National Character
Publisher: Doubleday (1971)
It is common knowledge that Japan has produced one of the most extraordinary national cinemas in the history of film. This book, written by the internationally-recognized expert on the subject, makes Japanese movies accessible to Western audiences as never before.
It is first of all, a succinct history of Japanese film, from the beginning through 1970. It is also, however, an exploration of Japanese culture-and the Japanese mind.
The author relates the films to the other art forms, and the traditions and attitudes of the Japanese people. He is thus able to refute the occasional Westernl5bjections that Japanese movies are sentimentat, or boring, or full of cliches. The book discusses not only the well-known classics of such directors as Kurosawa and Mizoguchi, but also the popular "entertainment" films as well. It establishes the historical basis for the important post-war films that first brought Japanese cinema to the attention of the world. Above all, this book explores the unique vision of the Japanese film-makers, the vision "which is the aesthetic of Japan-and which has created some of the most beautiful and truthful films ever made."
This volume is complete with numerous stills from the films, an appendix with information about 16 mm. distribution in the United States, and an index.